Organisers have introduced innovations for one of the world’s longest continuously-running competitive rowing events.
The Launceston and Henley Association Annual Regatta on February 16-17 will feature the full range of school and masters races plus two new concepts.
This year’s program will see the introduction of sprint races, which have proven popular at regattas in other states, with an event each for male and female eight-oared crews.
The races will be over 500 metres so onlookers will have the full field in view for all of each race, expected to take less than two minutes.
Crowd participation is encouraged and if these races are popular it is possible that the association will extend sprint racing to other boats, such as quad sculls, in future regattas.
The other new feature is an offer of prizes for quality performances. The association has secured funding from a long-term supporter to make available a pair of Concept II ergometers to winners of the under-15 division 1 quad scull races for boys and girls.
Organisers expect such a reward will induce the best crews as such valuable prizes are rare in Tasmanian rowing, and the association hopes to continue the practice in future years.
Entries will be limited to two crews from each school, with the requirement that a No.1 crew must be nominated in case a ballot is necessary to move No.2 crews to a lower division.
All races will be over a 1000m course, with the exception of those for under-13s and the sprint races over 500m, and open eight- and four-oared races for boys and girls over 2000m.
The prestigious Home Reach Perpetual Trophy (held by Launceston Grammar girls) will be for open boys eights, and will be the final event on the Sunday program.
The practice of presenting medallions to winners of division 1 quad scull races for boys and girls in under-13, 14 and 15 events will continue.
The regatta will conclude with presentations of division 1 trophies and certificates for all winning crews. Two aggregate point-score trophies will also be presented, to honour the service to rowing in Northern Tasmania by Roger Fowler (under-age events) and Graham and Elizabeth Quinn (senior events).
Rowing Tasmania’s website has complete details for entrants and the schedule of events over the two days.